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NEWS STORIES

State of the Art Surgical Robot in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 12/13/2012
Story By Michael Crusan

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WOODRUFF - Imagine a surgical procedure with faster recovery, less pain and fewer complications and risks.

Thanks to the efforts of area doctors and community members that dream is a reality in Woodruff.

Remarkable only begins to describe the da Vinci Surgical Robot.
Ministry Howard Young Hospital Director of Surgical Services Mike Gibbons says, "We were able to attain this technology in a hospital this size, which is pretty rare."

The Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Howard Young Hospital teamed up to perform some of the latest and most advanced surgeries in medicine.

Dr. John Twelmeyer with the Marshfield Clinic says, "The surgeon sits at the console and operates the arms of the da Vinci with just two fingers on each side."

At the helm of the da Vinci surgical robot the technology is something you might think that you'd find down at the Mayo Clinic or in the Cook County Hospital in Chicago.

But actually, it's found right here in the Northwoods.

That's because patients and doctors all got together because they wanted to see something they could bring into a Northwoods community here at the Howard Young Medical Center so patients could have quicker recovery times and more accurate procedures.

Gibbons says, "The people we've talked to have been incredibly amazed that they've been able to have this done here locally."

The robot can move past the limitations of the human hand with it's four robotic arms and high definition imagery.

Twelmeyer explains, "Instruments actually have more maneuverability than the human wrist does. So you can get in there and do very delicate dissections that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do with the regular laparoscopic equipment."

The da Vinci isn't able to perform every kind of operation, but the list is growing.

Gibbons says, "Currently, in addition to gynecology, we also offer urology services for operations of the prostate and kidney. As well as general surgery for colon surgery, gall bladder and things of that nature."

Twelmeyer says, even though the robot is reliable and can handle most procedures with ease, human hands are always on standby, "The whole O.R. crew is still in the room. The only difference is the surgeon isn't standing at the tableside. He or she is standing or sitting at the console."

Using the latest in medical technology and within a short drive for some of the most rural patients in the state.

The four surgeons who are trained to use the da Vinci Surgical Robot have already exceeded their operation goals in the first few months it's been up and running.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Iconic northern tree species could disappear as Northwoods climate warmsSubmitted: 09/30/2014

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FIFIELD - "Here's the paper birch, or white birch. It's one of my favorite trees," Linda Parker tells me as we walk through a part of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest near Fifield.

But her next thought on the tree is not so pleasant.

"This again is one of the species that occurs at the southern edge of its range here. It's more common to the north," she says. "This is another species in which we expect to see large declines."

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Preserving Wisconsin's wetlands Submitted: 09/30/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can find hundreds of plant species, different types of animal life, and breathtaking views in Wisconsin's wetlands.

Many people want to make sure wetlands are protected for years to come.

One group recently released a book educating others on wetland conservation.

"My favorite part is waking up and looking out the window. Every day is different. Every season is different," said wetlands owner Scott Eshelman.
Wisconsin wetlands surround Scott Eshelman's property.

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Wisconsin gets record timber sales on state lands; catching up on land management planSubmitted: 09/30/2014

RHINELANDER - Wisconsin made a record amount of money from timber sales on state lands in the most recent fiscal year.

Timber sales totaled $ 11.7 million during the most recent fiscal year. The fiscal year ended in June. DNR Chief Forester Paul DeLong says they fell behind on their land management plan in the early 2000s, so the record sales reflect the fact they're trying to catch up.

"We'll actually come back down slightly looking forward a bit because we will have worked down that backlog," DeLong said.

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Update-Inmate captured after failing to return to jailSubmitted: 09/30/2014

MARATHON COUNTY - An inmate who didn't return to jail from Huber release will now get a chance to think about his mistake.

The Marathon County Sheriff's department confirms inmate Tommie Rothenberger has been captured.

He was found in Waupaca County around 5:30 last night.

Rothenberger was let out of the Marathon County Jail Friday morning to go to school at Northcentral Technical College.

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UW-Marathon County issues voter IDs to students who need oneSubmitted: 09/30/2014

WAUSAU - A local college wants to make sure its students can vote this November.

UW-Marathon County is issuing voter IDs to students that don't have them.

Everyone in Wisconsin needs to have an ID to vote this fall.

The university started making the IDs Monday.

All UW schools will be issuing IDs to students who need one.

"The biggest reason that we're doing this is we really want our students to have that opportunity to vote," says Interim Assistant Campus Dean for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at UW-Marathon County Carla Rabe. "Some of our students may not have the proper voter ID, and so for us to offer that opportunity to our students really just encourages them to really take the importance in voting."

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Firefighters practice rescue in sewerSubmitted: 09/30/2014

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RHINELANDER - Firefighters need to practice rescue techniques so they can stay safe when responding to real emergencies.

Members of the Rhinelander Fire Department spent Tuesday in a sewer to practice rescuing people in a tight space.

Click "play video" to see how and why they do it.

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Virgin Airlines lets some employees have unlimited holiday vacation days, experts say strategy won't work in Northwoods Submitted: 09/30/2014

NORTHWOODS - Unlimited vacation time might sound unrealistic, but Virgin Airlines is letting some of its employees take off whenever they want. Nicolet Staffing thinks that wouldn't work in the Northwoods.

Virgin Airlines got the idea from Netflix. One hundred seventy employees can only take the unlimited days off when they feel that their team is up to date with every project. They also need to make sure their vacation time won't damage the business or their career.

Nicolet Staffing branch manager Robert Erickson says with so many manufacturers in the Northwoods, that system isn't possible.

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